Iceland is smoke-free and happy

On June 18th this year, a new ban on smoking in restaurants and night clubs was introduced in Iceland. A recent opinion poll conducted by local newspaper Fréttabladid shows that the majority of the population is satisfied with the results.

Of those who participated in the poll, 82 per cent said that they were satisfied with the new law while just 18 per cent expressed dissatisfaction.

Gender had very little to do with people’s opinions, although location did. Of those living in the countryside, 86.3 per cent were satisfied with the new bans, which contrasts to a lower figure in urban areas. Only 78.3 per cent of residents in the Reykjavik region said that they were satisfied.

Frettabladid surveyed 800 people over the age of 18, ensuring equal participation of both men and women as well as of urban and rural inhabitants.

The regulation prohibits smoking in restaurants, clubs, cafés and bars in Iceland. The law was brought in to protect the health of workers in these establishments.

A statement on the website of the Public Health Institute of Iceland summarised these reasons by explaining, “Indirect smoking can be very dangerous to people’s health. It can have short term effects like irritation to the eyes and throat, but also more serious effects like increasing the risk of heart attacks, lung cancer and hemorrhages”

Although smoking is also restricted in outdoor areas, there are designated smoking areas in most public places. Iceland joins countries such a Ireland and Norway in the smoke-free legislation as well as certain areas in America, Canada and Australia.

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